In 2007, the vestry voted to use the entirety of the Van Auken seminarian fund to support a single seminarian ... Wisnel Dejardin, of Haiti. The money we provided was used by Virginia Theological Seminary to provide English language immersion for Wisnel last summer, prior to his entering VTS this fall.
Wisnel had to go from no English to Master's degree-level English in just a few months. He began seminary classes in August, with a jump-start in Biblical Greek. He is taking a full load this fall, including New Testament and Old Testament, in addition to pastoral training classes and that pesky Biblical Greek. All Saints' financial support of his English training has made it possible for him to even attempt this course load (with the help of a regular English tutor).
Of course, once we did this, the Van Auken fund was emptied. So one man from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere would get a shot, but what about others?
Virginia Seminary recently announced that it has received a grant to provide similar English-language training for incoming seminarians from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Carpenter grant will provide in-country training as well as U.S. immersion for seminarians from these two countries.
All Saints' support for this immersion program was a first for VTS. Now with the Carpenter grant, what our one parish did one time, will transform into a long-term program that will benefit others.